Generally most outside burning is prohibited in Metro Louisville. There are some circumstances where it is allowed. The following except is taken from the Metro Louisville Air Pollution Control District web site regarding open  burning…

The Rules
APCD Regulation 1.11: Control of Open Burning describes under what conditions open burning is or can be permitted in Louisville Metro / Jefferson County. Fires are also subject to approval from your local fire department. Other laws and regulations may also apply, depending on the circumstances.

Burning of trash and yard waste is prohibited in Louisville Metro / Jefferson County.

You may have a fire to cook food for a non-commercial purpose, such as a backyard cookout. Read the regulation for details.

If you are cooking food for a commercial purpose, you need to enclose and properly ventilate the cooking fire with a chimney or similar device. Restaurant and catering services must also follow Louisville Metro Public Health & Wellness Department regulations for such a business.

A fire pit is an acceptable permanent or portable outdoor receptacle or device that meets certain specifications. The fire pit height cannot exceed 3 feet, and the fire pit opening (or burn area), cannot be larger than 3 feet wide by 3 feet long, or 3 feet in diameter. See the regulation for more details.

If you want to hold a recreational or ceremonial fire, such as a bonfire, you must get a permit (Recreational Fire Permit Application) from APCD at least five (5) working days ahead of time, and notify your local fire department. A recreational/ceremonial fire is a fire that that’s larger than necessary for cooking or is kept burning longer than necessary for cooking. (Excluding fires that are kept covered most of the time, as in a covered grill or a smoker.) Note that even with this approval, the recreational/ceremonial fire cannot be held if the wind is faster than 15 MPH or it is an Air Quality Alert day. See FAQs about recreational fires.

Agricultural fires for controlling weeds, diseases or pests, etc. can be approved after written recommendations from the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District and the local fire protection district, as can fires for management of forests, orchards, range, native grasslands or wildlife. See the Agricultural Burn Application.

Fires can be set for fire-fighting training, if approved by APCD at least five working days in advance. See the Fire Training Burn Application.

With an APCD operating permit, a flare can be used to burn off waste gases. The flare must have a smokeless tip and the opacity of the emissions cannot exceed 20 percent.

There are various other exemptions in unusual circumstances. For example, certain materials may be burned in the open if the Department of Public Health & Wellness has declared that to be necessary for controlling a public health hazard.

Learn more about alternatives to open burning. Reduce, reuse and recycle: ways to reduce trash, from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

If you live in Kentucky outside Louisville Metro / Jefferson County, see open burning information from the Kentucky Division for Air Quality and the Kentucky state open burning regulation.
If you live in southern Indiana, see open burning information from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM).

About Major John Stich

Major Stich was born and raised in Lyndon. He joined LFR as a fire cadet in 1972 becoming a volunteer firefighter in 1974. He has served as Apparatus Maintenance Officer, Training Officer, Company Officer and Battalion Chief. Since 1984 he has served in a career capacity as Fire Marshal, responsible for fire prevention, code enforcement and fire safety education.

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